I’m sitting here in Starbucks, enjoying a coffee as I write this article. I’ve set up a Northeast Public Relations “satellite office” at one of the tables and come here several times a week to have some uninterrupted writing time.
I find that getting out of the office is often a good way to increase my productivity and find new inspiration (i.e. caffeine). I also get the opportunity to network because I sometimes run into people I know while I’m here.
This is all possible because Starbucks recently lifted the restrictions on how long customers can use its Wi-Fi connection and access the Internet.
So if you’re still working in a stuffy office all day long, realize that there’s nothing stopping you from logging some work hours at the local Starbucks.
Here’s my system:
I use an Apple Macbook equipped with Airport (most current laptop computers are Wi-Fi ready).
I subscribe to Apple’s MobileMe software ($99 per year with 60 day free trial), which comes with “Back to My Mac,” among other benefits such as online storage via iDisk and Synch technology. Back to My Mac allows me to connect securely to my Apple computer at the office and pull up a window from which I may control my office desktop remotely. So if I want to check my e-mail, I don’t have to download it to my laptop. I can simply retrieve it and read it via the screen-sharing window as if I were sitting directly in front of my office computer.
I can also share files with my office computer. For example, if I’m working on a Word Doc, I download it directly to my laptop, make edits to it and then place it back on my office computer.
To enable MobileMe and set up an account, simply open the system preferences in your Mac OS and click on the MobileMe icon.
If you’re using a PC, you cannot use MobileMe, but there are many programs out there that allow one to access an office computer remotely. GoToMyPC.com is one (however, I have not used nor endorse this program. Check the online reviews and technical specifications to determine if a software package is right for you).
Additionally, I forward my office phone to my cell phone so I do not miss any calls.
So if you’re in a profession where you don’t have to be physically present 100 percent of the time and own a current laptop computer with a remote access program, you’re ready to go. And thanks to a great new unlimited Wi-Fi policy from Starbucks, you have all you need to get your job done, while enjoying some sunshine and great coffee.
(I do not work for or receive any money from the Starbucks Coffee Company. I just like working in their cafes..)